On the one hand the new Mercedes-Benz is the consummate cross continent luxury cruiser, providing effortless performance, superb all round refinement, a wonderful cossetting ride and truly relaxed qualities in C mode, which is effectively a comfort mode but is known as 'controlled efficiency' in AMG parlance.
Switch it into S mode to dial up sport and there is an instant hardening in character with a noticeable increase in accelerative ability, a sharpening in the response of the steering, improved body control, increased firmness but no great deterioration in the ability of the suspension to absorb nasty bumps and a lovely staccato exhaust note both under acceleration and on the over run.
As befits a car wearing the AMG badge, it is the engine that dominates proceedings. With such prodigious low end torque, the S 63 AMG wafts along in unperturbed fashion on light throttle openings at urban speeds, barely rising above idle and emitting little more than a distant burble in the cut and thrust of everyday city traffic.
It then takes only a fleeting brush of the throttle to see the big coupé reach typical UK motorway speeds. At a constant 100mph the big petrol engine ticks over at unruffled 2100rpm in top gear, providing fabulously smooth and unstressed qualities.
But it is not only the mechanical refinement that impresses. The isolation of wind noise is also superb, endowing it a gratifyingly serene character. It is no surprise to hear Mercedes-Benz describe the new S-class Coupé as the quietest car it has ever built. Even in S 63 AMG Coupé guise, it delivers overriding tranquility at speed.
However, there is also huge urge and satisfyingly aggressive aural qualities when you open the throttle to unleash its full performance , and it makes for devastatingly effective overtaking potential, helped in part by the unflinching willingness of the gearbox to pick up lower gears. Top speed is nominal pegged at 155mph, but an optional driver’s package allows you to raise it to 186mph, if only for the bragging rights in many countries where the new Mercedes-Benz will be sold.
Indeed, for a car that tips the scales on the wrong side of two tonnes, S 63 AMG is remarkably swift. The heady levels of on-boost acceleration make light work of the mass, with the result that it feels like a much lighter and smaller car, where it displays outstanding longitudinal stability even at break neck speeds on undulating roads.
The rear-wheel drive model bound for the UK is claimed to reach 62mph from standstill in just 4.2sec, making it 0.2sec faster to the universal benchmark than the old CL 63 AMG fitted with the optional performance package and 0.4-sec faster than the standard S 500 Coupé The addition of four-wheel drive cuts the time to just 3.9sec owing to superior traction off the line. But like the S 63 AMG saloon, it is not planned for the UK owing to packaging problems centering around the front driveshaft.
It takes only a few hundred metres on a winding road to discover the S 63 AMG Coupé has successfully raised the dynamic standard over and above the CL63 AMG. Incredibly agile and astonishingly surefooted, it hides its size remarkably well with superb body control and chassis balance, thanks in part to its hi-tech underpinnings which use a stereo camera built into the windscreen and sensors within the electronic stability control system to constantly alter the characteristics of the advanced suspension.
Roll, pitch and squat are superbly regulated, endowing the new up-market coupe with terrifically composed qualities on all sorts of roads surfaces. The mapping of its vast array of driving aids, including its electronic stability control, is also unique. In S mode, they are unusually unobtrusive, functioning only when they are really required.
There is now improved steering precision around the straight ahead along with, thanks to the adoption of a completely front suspension geometry with additional track width, added front end grip and ability to carry speed up to the apex without any premature breakaway – all of which makes the new Mercedes-Benz a more engaging car to drive than its predecessor. Much of the dynamic aplomb can be traced to the inherent stiffness of the S63 AMG’s body structure, which uses a combination of high-strength steel and aluminium.
For those seeking the ultimate in comfort, Mercedes-Benz offers its latest AMG model with an advanced new curve tilting function as an option. Incorporated into the magic body control system, it leans the S63 AMG into corners in a fashion similar to that of a motorcycle. It takes some before you feel really at home as the side of the car closest to the inner side of the corner drops down to provide the tilting effect.
However, claims of added comfort appear to be fully justified, although the big wheels and tyres of the S 63 AMG Coupé do tend to contribute a fair deal more surface roar than those of the standand S 500 Coupé whose ride quality is even more impressive. As a further upshot of the new tilt system, there is also an improvement in front end grip and a clear ability for the car to carry higher speeds through corners.
Before you even experience the many driving delights of the S 63 AMG Coupé you’re already aware of its inherent quality. Many interior elements, including the highly detailed instruments graphics and switchgear, are shared with the S 63 AMG saloon.
However, a uniquely designed dashboard and other bespoke touches such as an automatic arm that delivers the seat belt on a long arm each time you close the door, it imparts a fittingly expensive and solid feel that is further enhanced by a range of new features, including an optional head-up display unit and panoramic sunroof that can be order with Mercedes-Benz’s so-called magic sky control self-tinting glass.
The broad front seats are firmly cushioned, offer excellent lateral support and boast a wide range of electronic adjustment, making Mercedes-Benz’s latest performance model supremely comfortable. It is a different story up back, though. While offering greater levels of accommodation than before, which robs them of width. They’re entirely suitable for shorter journeys but most adults are going to feel cramped and claustrophobic after a while, owing in part to the broad and high front seat backs.
Owning to the new sloping rear end design, boot capacity is also reduced over the CL 63 AMG, dropping from 490 litres to 400 litres in the name of style.